As all motorists understand: it’s easier to get around a city in a compact ‘smart’ car, and motorway cruising is more comfortable in a premium estate model. Those looking to improve online website access for smartphones and tablets must likewise appreciate the mobile-user experience (mobile UX) must be customized for this environment. Any attempt to merely recycle material from the desktop domain will be doomed to failure. Here are some key factors to take into consideration.
1. Design For The Environment
Research suggests typical mobile users are primarily task-oriented, they come to your website with a purpose in mind. So if your visitors are rarely browsers, you should clearly establish the task(s) they will most frequently seek to execute. Your design focus should then seek to optimize your mobile UX in favor of those tasks. In a mobile environment speed is essential. The user has any number of potential distractions, so your site content must deliver what is required without delay, otherwise your potential customer will soon look elsewhere.
2. Route-One Mentality
Whatever visitor behavior you seek needs to be upfront and visible on your landing page. Whether it’s ‘order now’, ‘get quote’, ‘contact us’ or similar, these one-click options must be quick and easy to access with one finger. With careful grouping under sub-menus, ancillary information can remain available without either cluttering the main screen message or presenting the need to drill down through several layers. Navigational scrolling and excess clicking are soul-destroying on mobile devices, so be prepared to meet the mobile UX challenge by placing your killer offer, or exclusive info, fully centre stage. For example, Google reported that mobile users prefer easily cancelable promotional banners to large permanent space-hogging announcements.
3. Sticky Menu Searches
Even with an optimum design, an easy search option will significantly improve the mobile UX. The ability to perform an instant search via an always-visible ‘sticky’ menu, without having to scroll back to the top of a page, or even click back through a series of pages, is a powerful option giving users rapid trouble-free access to all site elements. Conversely, the lack of such functionality is a powerful incentive for your visitor to quit and search elsewhere.
4. Clarify Interactive Behavior
Desktop users with mouse access can hover over screen items to establish the correct mode of interaction. However, with on-screen space at a premium in the mobile environment it becomes essential to design your site so that all links and interactive choices are well-spaced and recognizably clear. Remember too that mobile connectivity is often hampered by slow speeds and consequent irregular page loading — another compelling reason to use a crystal-clear design approach to overcome any reluctance to commit to what can easily be perceived as dodgy navigational options.
5. Regularly Test And Review
Though the figures quoted may vary, all industry opinion believes mobile access will continue to increase over the coming years. With that in mind, you should test and review your company’s mobile UX on a regular basis. For most businesses this will be a matter of blending overarching ease-of-access developments with the niche industry-specific requirements potential customers demand.
Provided you can develop a clear strategy to streamline the mobile UX on your site, your web design services are best handled by a digital design agency. They are the ones best placed to advise on the most elegant and efficient means of implementing your plans.
Author Bio: Andy is a director of Beyond, a leading web design agency in London, specializing in user-centered branding and creative design services. He specializes in UX led, responsive design. He is passionate about the power of digital to influence user behavior. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.